What to See and Do in San Francisco

From the Golden Gate Bridge to the famous Alcatraz prison, San Francisco has a number of different things to see and do. If you only have a few days to explore the city, there are some sights you simply must see. However, if you’ve got more time for your vacation, you can check out some of the lesser known experiences this city has to offer.

One of the must-see sights is, of course, Alcatraz Island. This famous landmark has served as a military base, a lighthouse and a prison, and is now operating as a tourist attraction. There are a number of guided and self-guided tours daily, and the ferry leaves from Pier 33 to deliver passengers to the island regularly. Pier 33 is located at Fisherman’s Wharf, a series of shops and restaurants that’s also worth visiting if you have some extra time.

Actually, you might be surprised to learn that Alcatraz offers both a day and a night tour, although the two are very similar. The tours include your fare to and from the island, but if you plan to visit Angel Island as well, you can get a combination ticket that will cover both. The ferry to the island takes about 15 minutes, and once on Alcatraz, you can take as long as you want touring the island – just be certain to catch the last ferry of the day. It’s also important to note that Alcatraz doesn’t have any restaurants or eating establishments, so it’s a good idea to bring a snack or two with you – especially if you’re traveling with children.

Another landmark you simply must see in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it’s quite possibly the most famous San Francisco sight to see. If you enter the city from the north, chances are you’ll get to drive across the bridge itself. However, if you don’t have to pass over the bridge, it’s not a far drive to see it, although it is on the northern edge of the city. In addition, the bay area – the water surrounding the San Francisco peninsula – is an absolutely gorgeous park area. You can pack up a picnic, stroll out on the bridge for a bit, and then find a shady area to relax and watch the waves roll in. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon if you have some free time on your trip.

In addition to these two landmarks, San Francisco is famous for its winding, hilly streets. If you want to experience one of these interesting drives for yourself, get a taxi cab and ask the driver to take you to Lombard Street. This street is known as one of the most twisted streets in the world. It winds up and down the steep San Francisco hills, and if you’re going down, it can feel like a roller coaster ride. If you aren’t used to driving on very steep streets, however, you may not want to drive on Lombard Street yourself. Once you’ve been on the street, you might even want to grab a t-shirt or a postcard with the “I survived a cab ride up Lombard Street” slogan on it.

Of course, there’s much more to see and do in San Francisco, but these three sights are perhaps the most famous, so if you’re only in the city for a few days, be sure to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.